Responding to the most severe human rights challenges requires new collaborations to create enduring solutions.
Companies' operations now routinely extend into countries where inadequate legal protections and infrastructure create significant human rights risks. Addressing these problems requires understanding the underlying causes. But companies are justifiably concerned that if they acknowledge the scope of the problem they must solve it. The concept of "shared responsibility" seeks to alleviate this concern by bringing all stakeholders to the table. Working together, companies, governments, and international institutions can propose a fair allocation of the preventative and remedial costs necessary to address the roots causes of human rights risks.
We are testing the shared responsibility model in Bangladesh, where concerns over the cost of ensuring safe working conditions in garment factories have prevented acknowledgement of thousands of subcontracting facilities. These informal factories are often among the most unsafe for workers, but currently fall outside the scope of existing initiatives to upgrade the industry. We are working to bring new stakeholders and funds to the table to facilitate a more comprehensive and sustainable solution that ensures the safety of all workers.